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Thursday, August 5, 2010

August 2010 - Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Ant)

This thriller was a quick read for all of us, with its convoluted plot that held our interest and made it hard to put down.  We were intrigued by the circumstances surrounding the publication of the book, the life of the author and the situation faced by his partner as a result of laws in Sweden.  It was mentioned that the original title of the book in Swedish is "Män som hatar kvinnor" meaning "Men Who Hate Women"..... and reasons for title change in marketing the book for the English speaking world was discussed.  We briefly the discussed the reference in the book to Pippi Longstocking,  (a rebel and feminist role model??) by Swedish author Astrid Lingdgren. We also watched the movie and noted the obvious differences between the movie and the book.  We are now keen to read the rest of the trilogy ..............  :) 

Thoughts from Ant:

Why did I enjoy a story that was so violent? The book is was not well written but the story sucked me in as I just wanted to know what happens next. But then it was possibly not well written as it was translated.

I love a book with a very strong female character and they are few and far between. Lisbeth Salander is the protaganist of the novel, who having a simply horrendous past has a wonderfully moral centre. She knows right from wrong and acts accordingly. One of the themes of the novel is who do you trust? Lisbeth comes to trust a Mikael and falls in love him. Is this the 2nd man in her entire life that she trusts? I did hope that Mikael and Salander would end up together but this did not happen.

The title means Men who hate Women.......

Steven Murray, who translated the trilogy into English, says the political and moral undertone of the books - which touches on corruption in big business, the inadequacy of journalists, the legacy of Nazism, and violence against women - appeals to readers.

The book club discussion did not cover the legacy of Nazism. And why was Nazism such an undercurrent in the Vanger family.   (Links to discussion questons that other bookclubs might enjoy are at the bottom of the page.)

The paragraph below is from the stieg larsson website

Controversy surrounding the legacy

"Stieg Larsson spent 32 years of his life with the architect Eva Gabrielsson. However, the never married, maybe due to Stieg's dangerous work at the Expo-foundation. They did not have any children, and Stieg left no written will, so according to Swedish law, Stieg's estate was inherited by his father and brother. This sparked a dispute between Eva Gabrielsson and Stieg's relatives. She claims that they "were never a part of our lives" and that they are not the right persons handling Stieg's estate.

A fact complicating the matter is that Eva has the laptop with the partly finished script for the fourth book in the Millenium series. And she will not publish the script unless she is given the full rights to manage the novels in the Millenium series, the novels which she and Stieg worked with together. However, Stieg's father and brother has not been willing to meet this amend, and this has resulted in a stalemate which has lasted the five years since Stieg's death.

The most recent event took place when Stieg's father and brother in an interview with a newspaper offered Eva a final settlement of € 2 million. She rejected the offer, saying that it is not the money she is after, but the legal rights to administrate the literary property of Stieg.

So the stalemate continues, and the final words have not been said."

New article from Times online here

We found some interesting links below:

  Hedeby Island Maps: (click on the maps for larger image)

Map of Hedeby Island

Map of Hedeby Island - West End

Hedestad and Hedeby Island are both ficticious places. (Hedestad = Hede City, Hedeby = Hede Village) In the English translation of the book, maps of Hedeby Island were not included however Reg Keeland the translator has made the maps available.  Larger versions of these maps can be downloaded from here  (Stieg Larsson website)

Link to the Millenium Stockholm map (Stieg Larsson website)  showing places in Stockholm from the trilogy.

There are heaps of interesting links to documents, websites, audios, videos, photos and pictures at the shmoop website

An interview with Noomi Rapace who played Lisbeth Salander in the movieYouTube (2:49) (there is also another interview at the shmoop website)

The inheritance row and more (ie there were plans for more books in the series that never got completed): link from a fan - Sally's Friends website with more information.

Discussion Questions are available from ..... 
Barnes and Noble
Book Browse

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